Shapiro To Graduate as First Learning Sciences Major

Shapiro To Graduate as First Learning Sciences Major

Shoshi Shapiro

Shoshi Shapiro 

Shoshi Shapiro will be the first undergraduate to earn a learning sciences degree when she graduates from the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) in June, a remarkable feat given that the major didn’t exist when she was a freshman.

But Shapiro, long passionate about design education, doggedly pursued classes in cognitive sciences, linguistics and engineering. When learning sciences was formally introduced last fall, Shapiro – with the help of her stellar advisers -- created her own interdisciplinary path.

“She was ready to be a learning sciences student before we even knew what the curriculum would be,” said a former adviser, Megan Redfearn.

Shapiro completed her practicum at the Adler Planetarium, where she worked with SESP alumna Nathalie Rayter (BS11) and fell in love with the innovative ways museums were incorporating learning into their programs.

Rayter, manager of STEM Teen programs, at the Adler,  praised Shapiro’s “willingness to persevere and her design instincts” as she worked with members of the Adler’s Teen Program to build out their engineering-design curriculum.

“Shoshi's greatest accomplishments were identifying areas of need in our learning programs and producing usable resources to help teens learn how to use Arduino microprocessors,” Rayter said.

Throughout the practicum, Rayter also noticed a change in Shapiro.

“She became more comfortable with not knowing every answer and more confident in using resources and asking questions,” Rayter said.

Graduate school is the next stop for Shapiro, who is enrolled in the Engineering Design and Innovation Program at the McCormick School of Engineering. She plans to help connect McCormick faculty and students with those in SESP.

“In SESP, we talk about being social change makers, and design is one of the best ways to do it,” said Shapiro, a New York City native. “The skills you develop as a learning scientist help you get in touch with people you want to help. And you learn how to keep trying because learning from failure is part of the process.”


By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 5/30/17